The Jan. 5 article “English fluency hopes rest on an education overhaul” leaves a logic gap as to why Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should dream of a nation “that will actively re-engage with the global marketplace.”
The new fiscal year (come April) will bring in the consumption tax increase, despite the problem over the years of people not spending. The government fails to comprehend that people are likely to spend even less when already-high prices on goods increase. Get ready for a new era of deflation as companies lower prices to get people to buy more.
The first to burden the welfare system could be the foreigner population involved with English education. Unfairly remunerated assistant language teachers, such as those staffed by agencies, and private conversation school teachers and owners — who will lose out as families scale back on personal expenses — may be offered lump sum payments to return to their home countries and not return to Japan for a number of years.
How will English help?
Japan needs English to become a force again on international markets. With the continuing population decline, Japan also needs a workforce. Be prepared for class conflict if more and more foreign residents leave Japan while a decreasing number enter. Tourism will fail.
However, as a foreigner-friendly English-speaking country where folks other than refugees from developing Asian countries could come to better their lives, a tax base necessary to run the country could be built. Local economies would flourish. Instead of languishing as a distant Far East island nation, Japan could become a hub for international business.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.